Saturday 26 November 2022, 23:00

New Football Centre brings fresh hopes for Kumamoto

  • Kumamoto recently celebrated completion of a state-of-the-art football centre

  • FIFA Solidarity Fund provided financial support for the eight-year long project in southern Japan

  • Nicknamed COSMOS (Harmony), the centre will play a key role in football development of the region

"To continue and preserve is power". Mirroring that Japanese expression, eight years of consistent work has paid off with a new Football Centre - a FIFA-supported project - unveiled recently in Kumamoto, Japan. Indeed the project, the Kumamoto Football Centre, stands as a testament to the solidarity and joint efforts of the local football fraternity. In 2015, under former Kumamoto Football Association (KFA) Kensei Tagawa, a committee was formed to oversee the construction of a new football centre with the aim of improving the local footballing infrastructure. When a severe earthquake struck the Kumamoto region in April 2016, football’s world governing body duly answered the call for help from JFA with a decision taken by the FIFA Council and FIFA Finance Committee to provide financial support through the FIFA Solidarity Fund aimed at renovation of the artificial pitches. With the concerted efforts of FIFA, JFA and the local football association, construction was successfully completed in September. "The earthquake inflicted such severe damages that over 180,000 people were forced to evacuate," Ryota Matsushita, General Secretary of KFA and CEO of Kumamoto Football Centre, told "With the financial support by FIFA, JFA and other organisations, however, we were able to resume the work and complete the project."

A coach instructs local kids during a training session in the  new Kumamoto Football Centre

Community engagement

Based on the southern island of Kyushu, the city is home to ambitious J2 club Roasso Kumamoto. The sparkling new Kumamoto FA headquarters headlines the new 5.4 hectare complex which also features two artificial turf pitches equipped with floodlights. Complementing the footballing infrastructure are a multi-purpose studio, cafe, parking lot for 400 cars, and even a children’s daycare centre. Nicknamed COSMOS (a Greek word meaning harmony), the Kumamoto Football Centre is expected to not only facilitate the region’s football development, but also to play a harmonious role helping to further integrate the football fraternity with the local community, as Vice President of KFA Shusaku Imada told "I believe COSMOS will no doubt play an integral role in the development of elite and youth football in Kumamoto, and transform the local football culture in the long term," he said. "I also hope that it will help shape the careers of aspiring youth footballers in Kumamoto so that they will go on to play both at national and international levels."

With Japan competing in the FIFA World Cup™ for the seventh consecutive time this month, local youngsters from Kumamoto have the opportunity of pursuing their own football dreams in daily training sessions at the new Football Centre while cheering for the Samurai Blue. "I also hope that COSMOS will be fully utilised by all football players and local beneficiaries,” Imada said. “I want it to be a place not only to play or watch football, but also be a focal point that can add value to all users and generate new communities and functions.”

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